SW France Weather February 2014 and Verdict on 2013

New fountain in market square at Villefranche-de-Rouergue - on a wet and blustery Feb day

New fountain in market square at Villefranche-de-Rouergue – on a wet and blustery Feb day

This month, I have asked the SF (Statistics Freak; aka my husband) to write the weather post, since it’s he who collects all the statistics. I’ve also asked him to look back over 2013 as a whole and make some comparisons with the weather over our 16+ years here. So, over to you, SF.

February 2014 weather

First I will deliver the summary for February 2014 in the way that Vanessa normally does. As you know, we give every day a plus if it is nice weather, a minus if it is bad and a zero if we can’t decide.

February 2014 had 7 pluses, 12 zeros and 9 minuses. The graph below shows the proportion of pluses for February over the past 16 years. We have had 10 better, 3 the same and 2 worse. So the run of bad months in 2013 has continued into 2014. As you may remember, January 2014 was the second worst over the 16 years.

Proportion of pluses each February

Proportion of pluses each February

The rainfall amounted to 98 mm (against an average of 56 mm) and the number of rainy days was 16 (average 10).

We only had 3 frost nights, which is extremely low for a month of February (average 12).

Winter weather

The graph below shows the weather over the past 16 winters (winter being defined as November-February). Each bar represents a winter; the right-most bar is the average. The blue portion at the bottom shows the proportion of pluses; maroon denotes zeros; and yellow denotes minuses. So this graph shows that this winter was bad but there are three out of 16 that were worse in terms of the proportion of pluses – 2002-03, 2009-10 and 2012-13.

Winter weather over 16 years

Winter weather over 16 years

2013 compared with previous years

Let’s now look at 2013 as a whole. I have created a graph (see below) that shows the percentage of pluses for every complete year since 1998. The black line is the trend, which drops but only very slightly. It is very close to the 50%-level over all 16 years. But it does seem that the curve during the last few years starts to oscillate between more extreme values than it did in the early years. The swing between 2011 and 2013 amounts to a difference of almost two months’ worth of nice days.

Proportion of pluses each year since 1998

Proportion of pluses each year since 1998

This difference is large enough to be physically (and mentally) noticeable. If the curve continues its mathematical pattern (which the physicists call an undamped oscillation – okay; don’t get too technical, Ed.), we should look forward to an extremely nice year. Mind you, my pessimistic mind believes more in the curve continuing its descent.

Rainfall

The graph below shows the rainfall over 12 months measured at the end of every month. The volume of rain over the last 12 months is about 1100 mm, which is high (the average 12 months’ rainfall being around 850 mm). In early 2010 the 12 months’ rainfall was also just about 1100 mm. It is also worth noting that in March 2012 the 12-months rainfall was only 560 mm, just about half of what it is now.

Rolling 12 months rainfall

Rolling 12 months rainfall

My statistics show that the high volume of rainfall we are experiencing now is due to it raining on a high number of days. During the earlier peak, in 2010, it rained on average more each day that it rained.

I personally do not believe that my graphs reflect global warming. My statistics are based on only 16 years. If I had 50 or 100 years as a base, I am sure we would see the above pattern recurring several times.

I suppose you can now see why I am nicknamed the SF.

Copyright © 2014 Life on La Lune, all rights reserved

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About Vanessa Couchman

My husband and I moved to an 18th-century farmhouse in SW France in 1997. I am fascinated by French history, rural traditions and customs and enjoy seeking out the reality behind the myths. I run my own copywriting business and write short stories and the occasional novel in my spare time. My husband appears here as the SF, which stands for Statistics Freak, owing to his penchant for recording numbers about everything.
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4 Responses to SW France Weather February 2014 and Verdict on 2013

  1. pfornari says:

    Interesting stats, SF…i wish I were an SF as it would be fascinating to study the weather patterns here in Dhaka…the seasons, and there are six a year, change exactly on the day they are meant to (monsoon starts on 16 June, for example). Weather is predicatble in the extreme. Just a few aberrations. We had one freak downpour in February, to break he six month dry spell, and this year seems to be marginally cooler than others at this particular time…still able to go outdoors comfortably, which is nice!

    • The SF says:

      Hi Paola,
      Your weather over there is extreme compared to our weather. If I remember correctly Cherrapunji in the Kashi mountains is not too far from your part of the world. There the annual rainfall is 12000 mm and their daily record is more than 1000 mm.

  2. The SF says:

    Thanks Jo,

    I have been interested in statistics since my schooldays.
    Weather is only one of them. E. g. I can go back and see which books I have read since we came to France. Maybe a bit compulsive.

  3. Jo Lamb says:

    Wow, that is amazing stuff! And true to your nickname – but very clever :)

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